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9 Jan, 2020 10:23

'Football's a business... that's why we're here': Barcelona boss Valverde hits out at Spanish Super Cup's new Saudi format

'Football's a business... that's why we're here': Barcelona boss Valverde hits out at Spanish Super Cup's new Saudi format

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says that the new format of the Spanish Super Cup, which now features four teams instead of two, as well as it being hosted in Saudi Arabia is evidence of the business model football now follows.

The competition has been amended to include the top two teams in La Liga as well as both finalists of the Copa Del Rey and moved from its traditional August date and moved to the Saudi city of Jeddah. 

Barcelona boss Valverde, whose side face Atletico Madrid in the competition on Thursday evening, has hit out at the change in format which mandates that his side travel more than 2,500 miles to Saudi Arabia and he says that it is evidence of the sport of football transitioning further into a business.

"The bottom line is football has become a business and as a business it looks for income," Valverde said.

"That's the reason we are all here. It's a completely different format to what we're used to. It was always the first title and the opener of the season and to me that seemed fine.

"It's been changed and let's see, it will be judged once it has happened. It's interesting, with four good teams, but from a sporting point of view, I'm not sure."

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Saudi Arabia was a controversial choice to host the mini tournament and a deal was only struck when the country agreed to allow women attend the games. 

Valencia, one of the four competitors, are also unhappy that the $2.2 million appearance fee they are being given is less than that of the other three teams. Atletico Madrid are being given $3.3 million while Barcelona and Real Madrid will reportedly earn $6.6 million apiece.

Real Madrid drew first blood in the tournament on Wednesday, beating Valencia 3-1 in a game in which German international Toni Kroos scored directly from a corner.

Isco doubled their advantage with a volley before halftime before Luka Modric added a third on 65 minutes. Daniel Parejo scored a late consolation from the penalty spot for Valencia.

Valverde's Barcelona play Atletico Madrid at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium on Thursday.

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